* Will not place hardship on public
* Strike politically motivated

Inter Provincial Private Bus Association (IPPBA) members will not participate in the private bus strike organised by the Private Bus Owners’ Association (PBOA) claiming that such narrow sighted trade union decisions will ruin both the private bus service as well as the goodwill of the public.

IPPBA office-bearers participating in a media conference said yesterday the bus service will be available as usual throughout the country. IPPBA Chairman Sarath Vijitha Kumara said their Association will not fall prey to politically motivated agendas of the PBOA, which is backed by its Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne.

He added that the issues related to the private bus service should be settled through negotiations after coming to the discussion table. Demands should be won only through discussions and it should be a win-win situation for both the bus operators and the passengers. However the PBOA is continuously refusing to come to a settlement through discussions.

Their intention is to harass commuters by demanding their pound of flesh like Shylock. Even Wijeratne does not know the reason for calling a strike. Moreover, Wijeratne does not have a fair reason for calling a strike, Kumara added.

He said IPPBA members held discussions with President Mahinda Rajapakasa with regard to the issues of the private bus service. During the discussion, the IPPBA forwarded 15 demands to the President and the President responded favourably to many of these demands promising immidiate solutions to them, he said.

“Having considered our suggestions, the President at that moment itself, advised the IGP and the Treasury Secretary to look into certain suggestions including financial issues, ransom, spare parts and timetables etc,” he said.

IPPBA Secretary Manjula Perera said their Association never put passengers into difficulty by taking part in strikes. All IPPBA members backed by 17 bus operators’ associations would serve the people as usual, he said. 

Route permits will be cancelled, striking bus owners warned

Dharma Sri Abeyratne

Sabaragamuwa Provincial Road Passenger Transport Authority has warned it will cancel route permits of all private buses in the province, which take part in the private bus strike called by the Private Bus Owners’ Association (PBOA).

Sabaragamuwa Provincial Road

Passenger Transport Authority Chairman Sanjaya Senaratne said the private bus service is not a mere business but carries with it a social responsibility.

“Therefore, it is unethical to strike making people suffer immense hardship,” he said.

He added that the route permits of buses, which neglect their social responsibility by participating in the so called strike will be cancelled. Senaratne said 1,990 private buses in the Kegalle and Ratnapura districts have been registered with the Authority.

These buses have been deployed on 510 routes in the province. Of these buses except a few the rest are in operation.